Paris Accord’s global temperature target likely to be missed within decades

PTI London | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on January 23, 2018

Global temperatures are likely to rise more than the targets set by the Paris Agreement within a few decades if immediate action to limit carbon emission rate is not taken, a study warns.

Researchers found that Earth’s global average temperature is likely to rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the period before the industrial revolution within the next 17–18 years, and to 2 degrees Celsius in 35–41 years respectively. Through their projections, researchers advise that cumulative carbon emissions needed to remain below 195–205 petagrammes of carbon (PgC) from the start of 2017 to deliver a likely chance of meeting the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming target while a 2 degrees Celsius warming target requires emissions to remain below 395–455 PgC.

“Immediate action is required to develop a carbon-neutral or carbon-negative future or, alternatively, prepare adaptation strategies for the effects of a warmer climate,” said Philip Goodwin from the University of Southampton in the UK.

Action needed

“Our latest research uses a combination of a model and historical data to constrain estimates of how long we have until 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2 degrees Celsius warming occurs,” said Goodwin, author of the study published in the journal Nature Geoscience. “We’ve narrowed the uncertainty in surface warming projections by generating thousands of climate simulations that each closely match observational records for nine key climate metrics, including warming and ocean heat content,” he added.

“This study is important by providing a narrower window of how much carbon we may emit before reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2 degrees Celsius warming,” said Ric Williams from the University of Liverpool in the UK. “There is a real need to take action now in developing and adopting the new technologies to move to a more carbon-efficient or carbon-neutral future as we only have a limited window before reaching these warming targets,” said Williams.

The researchers had earlier evaluated a single equation connecting global warming to the amount of carbon emitted, warning of the detrimental effects of the nearly irreversible nature of carbon emissions for global warming. The latest research reinforces their previous conclusions that “the more cumulative carbon emissions are allowed to increase, the more global surface warming will also increase.”

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Published on January 23, 2018
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